Herbert Smith loses for BAA in Competition Appeal Tribunal

Herbert Smith has lost a Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) case for BAA after it failed to reverse a Competition Commission decision that forced the airport authority to sell Stansted Airport.

Herbert Smith partners Nusrat Zar and Stephen Wisking instructed Brick Court Chambers’ Nicholas Green QC to lead Martin Chamberlain of the same set for BAA.

They went head-to-head with Monckton Chambers’ Daniel Beard QC, who was instructed for the Competition Commission, and Paul Harris QC of the same set, who was instructed by Nabarro for the intervener RyanAir.

This is the latest in a series of legal battles against the competition regulator after it ordered BAA to sell Gatwick, Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports in March 2009, citing dominance in the sector.

Green argued on behalf of BAA that the market had changed substantially since the order was made. The operator sold Gatwick, its second-largest airport, for £1.5bn in 2009 (21 October 2009).

Sources close to the case said an appeal was being considered.

The legal line-up

For the appellants BAA: Brick Court Chambers’ Nicholas Green QC and Martin Chamberlain of the same set, instructed by Herbert Smith Nusrat Zar and Stephen Wisking.

For the respondent Competition Commission: Monckton Chambers’ Daniel Beard QC and Alan Bates of the same set instructed by the Treasury Solicitor.

For the intervener RyanAir: Mockton Chambers’ Paul Harris QC and Sarah Love of Brick Court Chambers instructed by Nabarro partner George Maling.